The Top 5 Common Turnoffs for Homebuyers

From dirty or cluttered homes to a lack of curb appeal, these are the things that will prevent homeowners from considering or going through with a deal.

Selling a home isn’t as easy as simply listing it on the market. There are steps that sellers—and their realtors—need to take in order to ensure that potential buyers are willing to at least give it a shot. To ensure that buyers are willing to pay a home any attention, there are common turnoffs that should be avoided. ESTATENVY spoke with two real estate experts to narrow down the top five turnoffs that will prevent deals from being closed.

Homes that Need Repairs

While some buyers go into a sale knowing that they’re purchasing a fixer-upper, the majority of homebuyers want to purchase a home that’s ready to be lived in. That means that major repairs need to be taken care of before showings ever take place.

“To have the most market impact and an edge over the competition, the condition of your home can make a huge difference. A home in great condition will attract solid buyers, who are serious, motivated and qualified,” said Alex Staff, a showing specialist with MKT Properties. “Homebuyers are most likely turned off by a home that needs repairs, exterior improvements or has a weak curb appeal.”

Dirty or Cluttered Homes

In addition to major repairs, homebuyers don’t want to experience showings of spaces that are dirty or cluttered. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in a space, and that means keeping things neat and tidy.

“The first thing that turns off potential buyers is a dirty, unkempt or cluttered home,” said Nadine Shehaiber, a real estate broker and designer with @properties. “Nothing turns off a buyer more than walking into a filthy, messy home that has not been prepped for showings. Making sure the home is well staged, cleaned, painted and kept up is one of the key things a seller can do to make sure buyers don’t run away. I won’t even represent sellers until they get the home ready and in the absolute best condition for showings. This is the time to go the extra mile by giving it a fresh coat of paint, deep cleaning carpets and rugs, grouting tubs and showers, cleaning tiles, deep cleaning, and replacing any broken bulbs or things of that nature.”

Too Many Personal Items

Dirty and cluttered homes aren’t the only thing that has the potential to prevent buyers from envisioning themselves in a space. Too many personal items in a home can also block a sale from closing.

Shehaiber said, “Psychologically when buyers tour a home, they’re trying it on to see how it fits, just as they would a skirt or a pair of pants. If your house is cluttered with too many personal items, it’s unlikely for them to see themselves in that space. Anything that makes your house scream ‘you’ is what you want to eliminate. How we decorate to live and how we decorate to sell are different, so think, ‘we’re decorating to sell.’”

Outstanding Issues that Will Pop Up During an Inspection

There are a lot of minor repairs that can be made to a home before it’s put on the market in order to avoid turning off homebuyers. By eliminating problems that are likely to pop up during a home inspection, sellers will be in a better position

“Sellers can easily change the feel of any space with updates and repairs. The most common updates include painting, flooring and lighting. As far as repairs, one in three sellers knows that a problem is likely to come up during an inspection, such as a leaky faucet, stuck window or worn shingles. It is a great idea to repair items that could be an issue during a home inspection. The most common repairs include electrical, plumbing and roof,” said Staff.

A Lack of Curb Appeal

The outside of a home is just as important as the inside. The way a house looks from the street is the first impression that potential buyers see, and it has the potential to make or break a deal.

Staff added, “As for exterior improvements, spend your money wisely. There are easy and inexpensive fixes that you can make to the front of your house, such as cleaning the windows or adding a fresh coat of paint. The objective is to make a great first impression with the fresh and clean look that buyers prefer. To improve your home’s curb appeal you can trim trees, bushes, adding/ replacing mulch, add new plants, wash windows, update the front door to name a few.”